23.2.2016

Parliament passes expropriation bill

The criticised expropriation bill has been passed in Parliament. It provides for property to be expropriated in the public interest, as well as for public purpose.The bill was passed despite objections from the DA, the EFF and other opposition parties in the National Assembly on February 23. After a spirited debate, 202 members voted in favour of the bill, 88 voted against it, while two abstained. The bill has now been sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
The bill, which has been criticised for being too broad in definitions, was introduced to speed up land reform. Opposition parties also called the bill unconstitutional and problematic.The ANC said the Constitutional Court had stated that it was judicially unwise and almost impossible to define property.
Public works deputy minister Jeremy Cronin said expropriation could be important for transformational progress. He said it was wrong to imagine that only the wealthy property owners would get expropriated.
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani called the bill one of the most important transformative pieces of legislation post 1994. "The passing of this draft legislation is without a doubt key to our transformation trajectory, and it will intensify the land reform program and bring about equitable access to South Africa's land, natural resources and food security," he said in a statement following the sitting. (News24/Johannesburg)

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